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Though not as tall as Everest, the "Savage Mountain" is far more dangerous. Located on the border of China and Pakistan, K2 has some of the harshest climbing conditions in the world. Ninety women have scaled Everest but of the six women who reached the summit of K2, three lost their lives on the way back down the mountain and two have since died on other climbs.In Savage Summit, Jennifer Jordan shares the tragic, compelling, inspiring, and extraordinary true stories of a handful of courageous women -- mothers and daughters, wives and lovers, poets and engineers -- who defeated this formidable mountain yet ultimately perished in pursuit of their dreams.
Savage Summit Author: Jennifer Jordan Description Though not as tall as Everest, the "Savage Mountain" is far more dangerous. Located on the border of China and Pakistan, K2 has some of the harshest climbing conditions in the world. Ninety women have scaled Everest but of the six women who reached the summit of K2, three lost their lives on the way back down the mountain and two have since died on other climbs.In Savage Summit, Jennifer Jordan shares the tragic, compelling, inspiring, and extraordinary true stories of a handful of courageous women -- mothers and daughters, wives and lovers, poets and engineers -- who defeated this formidable mountain yet ultimately perished in pursuit of their dreams. Excerpt The chief joy is the varied and perfect exercise, in the midst of noble scenery and exhilarating atmosphere. The peak utters a challenge. The climber responds by saying to himself, I can and I will conquer it. -- Annie Smith Peck (1850-1935)For most of the modern age, "woman climber" was an oxymoron.Women were almost without exception wives, widows, prostitutes, royalty,or slaves. But sometime during the late eighteenth century, whenthe first woman cinched a rope around her waist and lashed her bootsinto bear claw–shaped steel crampons to climb up ice walls and steepsnow slopes, war was declared on the status quo. From the time ofthose earliest rock and alpine pioneers, women have had to deal withtheir gender as well as the mountains in order to climb. Whether it hasbeen climbing with the danger and annoyance of twenty-two-poundskirts and the inconvenience of monthly menses or negotiating thepower struggles with their male teammates, porters, guides, and officials, women have had very different experiences than men in theclimbing world.Early explorers of the sea, desert, jungle, Arctic, and mountains weremostly men whose cultures and personal fortunes allowed them suchfreedom. The few women of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentiethcenturies who had the financial and societal independence to venturebeyond the narrow confines of the day found getting to the mountains adifficult feat. Not only did men invite other men to attempt the then-unclimbed peaks around them, but many resented the intrusion of women into their very male pursuits, as if the presence of women somehowdiluted the fun, the danger, and the escape of their adventures. If ithad been possible, one can imagine those early men posting a "No GirlsAllowed" sign above the mountains.The early female mountaineers also faced resistance and umbragefrom deep within the cultured societies of London, Paris, and Boston,which had difficulty embracing the display of women, in britches orskirts shortened to their calves, ropes pulled tight around their bodies,climbing and sleeping on mountains, with men! Further, it was onething for men to risk death in their lofty pursuits, but for women who"belonged" safely at home caring for the children, it was practicallyblasphemous.But the women pioneers of rock and ice persevered through theirculture's indignation and scorn, first ascending Mont Blanc in 1808(although barely, as Marie Paradis, exhausted and quite undone by herefforts, begged her companions to throw her into the nearest crevasseto put her out of her misery), the Matterhorn in 1871, and finally theworld's mightiest peak, Mount Everest, in 1975. With every rope theysuffered second-guessing, petty jealousy, and recrimination, not tomention the resentment of men who felt challenged when womenachieved the same feats that they had heralded as pushing the limits ofwhat the human body could endure. After all, if a mere woman could doit, how dangerous could it be?Pretty damn dangerous, as it would turn out, particularly for thosewho set their sights on the world's highest mountains, the fourteen thatstand above 8,000 meters, roughly the cruising altitude of a jetliner.Only a tiny fraction of the world's population will ever breathe the rarefiedthin air that veils the top of the world, and even fewer will survivethe experience. High-altitude climbing is the most deadly of recreations,many times more lethal than skydiving, race-car driving, orbase-jumping. On certain peaks the fatality rates are staggering, but onK2 they are mind-boggling. When a... Author Bio Jennifer Jordan Jennifer Jordan has lived at the base of K2 twice while writing and producing the National Geographic documentary The Women of K2. She is a writer, producer, public speaker, and journalist, having created, produced, and hosted her own public radio talk show. Jennifer lives with her husband, filmmaker and adventurer Jeff Rhoads, in Salt Lake City.
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